There’s something about shorter, darker days that can take the spring out of your step. Maybe you recharged your fitness and nutrition routine a while ago, but you’re feeling your motivation diminish during the colder months. 

Most of us have felt like we’re in a rut from time to time. The same way positive behaviour breeds more positive behaviour, a rut can be tough to escape.  

Here are 5 positive habits to help pull you out of a rut: 

Better self-care 

Self-care is a hot topic lately as people realize the connection of mental and physical health to quality of life. If any of your basic physical or emotional needs are not met, it can lead to depleted energy and lack of focus. Self care is not self indulgent, it’s about taking care of yourself so you can take care of those around you. Try getting to bed earlier, planning and preparing healthy meals that fuel you, getting active in some way each day, and connecting with the people who matter and who make you feel positive.  

Change up your routine 

It’s natural to fall into a routine of doing the same things day after day. Changing your routine can improve your energy levels and your outlook. Engage with new people to expand your social network, get some friends together to do something you really love, try something you’ve always wanted to do, or make some changes to your workout routine for new gym motivation. By changing things up, boredom - which can lead to a slump - goes out the window. 

Get some fresh air 

Research shows that being outside is good for both your brain and your body. Even short periods of time outdoors can have a positive effect your general well-being. People who suffer from “winter blues” are encouraged to take in some form of natural light each day. It can help stave off feelings of sadness, and provide the activity that your body craves each day.  

Rediscover your why 

Sometimes your goals are clear and you take action toward achieving them each day. Other times, losing sight of them can leave you feeling flat. Having a ‘why’, or something to look forward to can be extremely motivating. Consider writing down some short (daily / weekly) and long-term (monthly / yearly) goals. From exercise targets to a new project or goal at work, to vacation plans, the anticipation of positive things on the horizon can kick your brain into determination mode. 

Reward yourself 

As you take steps to create positive habits and begin tackling short-term goals, remember to celebrate the small wins - a win deserves a reward! You’re unlikely to go from slump to score overnight, so recognizing progress will help drive you toward your most productive self. If you’ve set out to get back to the gym, and you got there twice this week, treat yourself to your favourite drink from Starbucks! Whatever makes you feel good about your accomplishments will help motivate you to keep pushing forward.